Page 1 of 1
THE ANCIENT PERSIA (IRAN)
Posted: Mon Dec 25, 2006 5:39 am
Achaemenian Dynasty 550 BC - 334 BC
559 - 530 BC
Cyrus the Great was the first Achaemenian Emperor. He founded Persia by uniting the two original Iranian Tribes- the Medes and the Persians. Although he was known to be a great conqueror, who at one point controlled one of the greatest Empires ever seen, he is best remembered for his unprecedented tolerance and magnanimous attitude towards those he defeated.
The tomb of Cyrus the Great
Cyrus' Charter of the Rights of Nations
A replica of this decree is displayed in the UN.
I am Cyrus, King of the World. When I entered Babylon I did not allow anyone to terrorize the land. I kept in view the needs of its people and all its sanctuaries to promote their well being. I put an end to their misfortune. The great God has delivered all lands into my hand, the lands that I have made to dwell in peaceful habitation.
Posted: Mon Dec 25, 2006 5:51 am
522 - 486 BC
The reign of Darius the Great marked the zenith of the Persian Empire. Upholding the tradition established by Cyrus, Darius valued the rights of all people under his rule. The following inscription appears on his tomb:
By the favor of the great god I believe in justice and abhor inequity. It is not my desire that the weak man should have wrong done to him by the mighty...
Darius' goal was to be a great law-giver and organizer. He structured the empire under the satrapy system (similar to national and local governments). He built many roads, ports, banking houses (the word "check" comes from old Persian), elaborate underground irrigation systems and a canal to link the Nile to the Red Sea (an early precursor of the Suez Canal).
In the 19th century, archeologists in Egypt discovered an inscription by Darius commemorating the completion of the Canal: I am a Persian. I commanded to dig this canal from a river by name of Nile which flows in Egypt... After this canal was dug, ships went from Egypt through this canal to Persia, thus as was my desire.
Darius revolutionized mankind's economic activities by introducing one of the earliest (certainly the first on such a massive scale) forms of common coinage in history, the darik. This initiative, along with the standardization of weights and measures and the codification of commercial laws, stimulated world trade and elevated the Persian Empire's economy to new levels of prosperity.
Posted: Mon Dec 25, 2006 6:00 am
), the capital of the Persian Empire.
Reflecting the wealth and the mugreeting card lticultural dimension of the Persian Empire, Darius initiated the building of the Persepolis Palace. For its construction, artisans and materials were gathered from different corners of the empire. Another project undertaken by Darius was the royal road, the world's longest, extending 1,500 miles (see map). Due to an extensive network of relays, postmen could travel the road in six to nine days, whereas normal travel time was three months. The motto of the Persian postal service became memorable: stoped by neither snow, rain heat or gloom of night. The US postal service also adopted this motto and the famous Pony Express mail delivery resembled the original Persian design. The origins of polo date back to this time. Persian nobility played an early form of polo for both sport and combat training.
A battered guardian of persepolis
490 - 479 BC
In their wars with Persia, the Greek city-states were never a threat to the Persian heartland. What Persia did not achieve through war, it obtained through diplomacy. After the wars ended, Persian kings successfully played the Athenians and Spartans against each other for 150 years. Persia's financial and naval assistance was instrumental in Sparta's victory over Athens in the Great Peloponnesian War. Afterwards, Persia began supporting the Athenians. The Persian influence over the two Greek city-states was such that the Persian King Artaxerxes II was asked to mediate between them, leading to the King's Peace of 387 BC.
550 - 334 BC
The Persian Empire became the dominant world power for over two centuries. It made possible the first significant and continuous contact between East and West. It was the world's first religiously tolerant empire and consisted of a multitude of different languages, races, religions and cultures. Prior to the rise of the Roman Empire, it set a precedent for the importance of the rule of law, a powerful centralized army and an efficient and systematic state administration. However, the greatest legacy of the Persian Empire was that it demonstrated for the first time how diverse peoples can culturally flourish and economically prosper under one central government.
Posted: Mon Dec 25, 2006 8:37 am
Map of the ancient Persia
Posted: Mon Dec 25, 2006 8:58 am
The Homa griffin
Homa (in Persian هما) is a griffin-like mythological creature and symbol in Persian art. The history of the creature's depiction dates back to the Achaemenid Persians, most notably at the palace of Persepolis where many sculptures of Homa were constructed, e.g. at the top of columns. In Iranian legends, Homa would fly and then land on the head or shoulder of a king-elect upon death of a king, although this is sometimes attributed to the other Persian mythological bird Huma.
Posted: Mon Dec 25, 2006 10:01 am
Thanks for historical information and pictures.
It is useful really!!
Posted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 8:08 am
Temple of ANAHITA
On the road traveling from Tehran toward the city of Kermanshah, one passes through the valley of Asad-abad. In small town of Kangavar, ruins of a majestic historic site start to appear right by the roadside.
The site is known as the Temple of Anahita, built by Achaemenian Emperor Ardeshir II (Artaxerxes II), 404 BC to 359 BC.
This temple is built in honor of "Ardevisur Anahita," the female guardian angel of waters. It is known as "Temple of Anahita"
Shapes and carvings of the columns in temple are similar to those found in Persepolis and palace of Darius in Susa.
Posted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 3:00 pm
Wow!!! I can see that every country or land has its own piece of beauty!!! :P
Posted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 12:52 pm
PAARSE, mate, you've done a great job indeed, thanks so much for these interesting information and beautiful photo's. The ancient empire of Persia has a great history which could be seen truly through these lines.
Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 4:54 am
The magnificent palace complex at Persepolis was founded by Darius the Great around 518 B.C., although more than a century passed before it was finally completed. Conceived to be the seat of government for the Achaemenian kings and a center for receptions and ceremonial festivities, the wealth of the Persian empire was evident in all aspects of its construction. The splendor of Persepolis, however, was short-lived; the palaces were looted and burned by Alexander the Great in 331-330 B.C.
By far the largest and most magnificent building is the Apadana, begun by Darius and finished by Xerxes, that was used mainly for great receptions by the kings. Thirteen of its seventy-two columns still stand on the enormous platform to which two monumental stairways, on the north and on the east, give access. They are adorned with rows of beautifully executed reliefs showing scenes from the New Year's festival and processions of representatives of twenty-three subject nations of the Achaemenid Empire, with court notables and Persians and Medes, followed by soldiers and guards, their horses, and royal chariots. Delegates in their native attire, some completely Persian in style, carry gifts as token of their loyalty and as tribute to the king. These gifts include silver and gold vessels and vases, weapons, woven fabrics, jewelry, and animals from the delegates' own countries. Although the overall arrangement of scenes seems repetitive, there are marked differences in the designs of garments, headdresses, hair styles, and beards that give each delegation its own distinctive character and make its origin unmistakable. Another means by which the design achieves diversity is by separating various groups or activities with stylized trees or by using these trees alone to form ornamental bands. There is also an intentional usage of patterns and rhythms that, by repeating figures and groups, conveys a grandiose ornamental impression.
Remain of columns
Posted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 4:33 pm
Those columns look like the Greek ones!!! Nice!! Exotic!
Posted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 4:52 am
The Gate of All Nations
To the north of the Apadana stands the impressive Gate of Xerxes, from which a broad stairway descends. Xerxes, who built this structure, named it "The Gate of All Countries, " for all visitors had to pass through this, the only entrance to the terrace, on their way to the Throne Hall to pay homage to the king. The building consisted of one spacious room whose roof was supported by four stone columns with bell-shaped bases. Parallel to the inner walls of this room ran a stone bench, interrupted at the doorways. The exterior walls of the structure, made of thick mud brick, were decorated with numerous niches. Each of the three walls, on the east, west, and south, had a very large stone doorway. A pair of colossal bulls guarded the western entrance; two assyrianized man-bulls stood at the eastern doorway. Engraved above each of the four colossi is a trilingual inscription attesting to Xerxes having built and completed the gate. The doorway on the south, opening toward the Apadana, is the widest of the three. Pivoting devices found on the inner corners of all the doors indicate that they must have had two-leaved doors, which were probably made of wood and covered with sheets of ornamented metal.
Posted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 4:59 am
The Throne Hall
Next to the Apadana, the second largest building of the Persepolis Terrace is the Throne Hall (also called the "Hundred-Column Hall"), which was started by Xerxes and completed by his son Artaxerxes I (end of the fifth century B.C.). Its eight stone doorways are decorated on the south and north with reliefs of throne scenes and on the east and west with scenes depicting the king in combat with monsters. In addition, the northern portico of the building is flanked by two colossal stone bulls. In the beginning of Xerxes' reign the Throne Hall was used mainly for receptions for representatives of all the subject nations of the empire. Later, when the Treasury proved to be too small, the Throne Hall also served as a storehouse and, above all, as a place to display more adequately objects, both tribute and booty, from the royal treasury. Concerning this, Schmidt wrote of the striking parallel in a modern example of a combined throne hall and palace museum where the Shah of Iran stores and exhibits the royal treasures in rooms and galleries adjoining his throne hall in the Gulistan Palace at Teheran.
Posted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 8:32 am
I am Cyrus.
King of the world. When I entered Babylon... I did not allow anyone to terrorise the land... I kept in view the needs of Babylon and all its sanctuaries to promote their well-being... I put an end to their misfortune.
From The First Charter of the Rights of Nations
The city of Pasargadae is located 70 kilometers north of Takht-e Jamshid on the plain of Morghab. Here there are some remains of the first capital of Achaemenids, which can truly be called the cradle of Irans documented history. The name of the city has been derived from that of a Persian tribe, meaning The Camp of the Persians. Unlike Takht-e Jamshid Pasargadae is not located on a terrace. It is composed of several separate and sporadic palaces in a vast park. Although the capital was later transferred to Takht-e Jamshid the ceremonies of coronation were held at Pasargadae so it never failed to be an important center. From the cultural viewpoint, too, Pasargadae is very significant. Cyrus the Great made the greatest and most powerful kingdom all over the world of the Persian nomads in the shortest conceivable period of time. He was also the founder of a new and splendid style in the art of architecture, which evolved in Takht-e Jamshid and became known as Achaemenid style. All the palaces of Pasargadae have been situated in the beautiful lush gardens. The most important remains found at Pasargadae are :
Tomb of Cyrus
The name of Pasargadae is always associated with that of the tomb of Cyrus. This construction is located at the beginning of the Pasargadae complex. It is constructed of huge, white limestone blocks, without any window, resting on a rectangular, stepped plinth, with six receding stages. It has only one entrance door. In spite of its simplicity the tomb suggests the power and authority of the founder of Achaemenid dynasty.
There is a construction, located one-kilometer northeast of the tomb of Cyrus, which is supposed to be the entrance of Pasargadae. The hall of this palace has eight soft and polished stone columns. The entire floor of this building is covered with two layers of white stone.
The remains of a bridge across a stream have been found 150 meters west of the gatehouse. Two stone walls had been built on both sides and there were nine stone columns on the bed of the stream. Apparently the bridge was a connective route between the gatehouse and the audience hall.
The Audience hall
There is a palace with huge columns, 100 meters to the left of the bridge. The palace was used to receive the agents and nobles of different countries who came to see Cyurs the Great. The central hall of the palace had eight columns of which only one has wonderfully remained on its place since 2500 years ago. Four doorways to the central hall were ornamented with relief.
Cyrus Private Palace
This palace is located 300 meters away from the audience hall. The design of the palace is like the letter H and its central hall is ornamented with 30 columns. The eastern iwan of the hall also has 40 columns. There is an inscription in cuneiform on a wall of the iwan written in three languages the translation of which is : I am Cyrus, the Achaemenid king . The western iwan also had 24 columns. The walls of the palace and iwans were ornamented with a lot of relief, which are not left. It is supposed that this palace was the private palace of Cyrus the Great. The other remains found at Pasargadae are the Solomons prison, Arg and chapel.
Posted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 9:10 am
Naqsh-e Rustam (in Persian: نقش رستم Næqš-e Rostæm) is an archaeological site located about 3 km northwest of Persepolis, in Fars (Pars) province (Persis), Iran. This place is called Næqš-e Rostæm "Picture of Rostam" because of the Sassanid carvings below the tombs, which were thought to represent the Persian mythical hero Rostam.
Naqsh-e Rustam, contains seven tombs which belongs to Achaemenian kings. One of those at Naqsh-e Rustam is expressly declared in its inscriptions to be the tomb of Darius I. The three other tombs, besides that of Darius I, are believed to be those of Xerxes I, Artaxerxes I, and Darius II. The two completed graves behind Persepolis probably belong to Artaxerxes II and Artaxerxes III. The unfinished one might be that of Arses, who reigned at the longest two years, but is more likely that of Darius III, last of the Achaemenian line, who was overthrown by Alexander the Great.
In addition to tombs, there are also seven gigantic rock carvings in Naqsh-e Rustam, below the tombs, belonging to the Sassanid kings.
triumph of Shapur I over the Roman Emperor Valerian, and Philip the Arabian
Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 6:11 am
In former ages, the names Āryānā and Persis were used to describe the region which is today known as the Iranian plateau. The earliest Iranian reference to the word (airya/arya/aryana etc), however, predates the Iranian prophet Zoroaster (est. anywhere between 1200 to 1800 BCE, according to Greek sources, as early as 6000 BCE and is attested in non-Gathic Avestan; it appears as airya, meaning noble/spiritual/elevated; as airya dainhava (Yt.8.36, 52) meaning the land of the Aryans; and as airyana vaejah, the original land of the Aryans."
During the Achaemenid dynasty (550-330 BCE), the Persian people called their provincial homeland Pārsa, the Old Persian name for Cyrus the Great's kingdom, which belonged to the Persian tribe of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranians and which is retained in the term "Pars" or "Fars" (from which the adjective "Farsi" is derived). It is part of the heartland of Iran and is identified in historical maps, such as Eratosthenes's, and in modern maps.
However, the country as a whole was called Aryanam. The word Ariya, meaning "noble", "spiritual", and "elevated", is attested in the Inscriptions of Darius the Great and his son, Xerxes I. It is used both as a linguistic and an ethnic designation. Darius refers to these meanings in the Behistun inscription (DBiv.89), which is written in a language referred to as airyan, or more commonly as Old Persian. Both Darius and Xerxes state in inscriptions at Naqsh-i Rustam (DNa.14), Susa (DSe.13), and Persepolis (XPh.13):
Stonecarving from Persepolis showing Darius I the Great of Persia (521-486 BC).
Adam Pārsa, Pārsahyā puça; Ariya, Ariya ciça... I am Persian, son of a Persian; an Aryan, from an Aryan lineage.
In Parthian times (248 BCE – 224 CE), Aryanam was modified to Aryan. In the early Sassanid Period (224–651 CE), it had already evolved to Middle Persian Ērān or Ērān Shahr which finally resulted in New Persian Iran or Iran Shahr.
At the time of the Achaemenian empire, the Greeks called the country Persis, the Greek name for Pars (Fars), the central region where the empire was founded; this passed into Latin and became Persia, the name widely used in Western countries which causes confusion as Persia is actually Pars (Fars) province.
In the twentieth century, a dispute arose over whether Iran or Persia is the correct name for the country. On 21 March 1935, the ruler of the country, Reza Shah Pahlavi, issued a decree asking foreign delegates to use the term Iran in formal correspondence in accordance with the fact that "Persia" was a term used for a country called "Iran" in Persian.
Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 8:51 am
I want to go historical places or place you are showing here I think It is interesting and I want to take a photo myself also. I'm sure It will have to be funny. :D :D
Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 8:38 pm
Yes and as I said before, every country has its own beauty and exotic wonders!
Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 4:11 am
Oriani wrote:Yes and as I said before, every country has its own beauty and exotic wonders!
You are right!
It is interesting.
Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 8:48 am
Next Post, please
Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2007 8:58 am
Falak-ol-Aflak Castle (in Persian: قلعه فلاک الافلاک), in ancient times was known as Dežbār as well as Shāpūr-Khwāst, is one of the most impressive castles in Iran. It is situated on the top of a large hill with the same name within the city of Khorramabad, the regional capital of Lorestan province. This gigantic structure was built during the Sassanid era (226–651).
The Khoramabad River runs past the eastern and south-western side of the Falak-ol-Aflak hill providing the fortress with an element of natural protection. Today, the western and northern sides of the hill are bordered by the residential districts of Khorramabad.
Falak ol-Aflak castle is amongst the most important structures built during the Sassanid era. It has been known by a number of names since it was built over 1800 years ago. Recorded names have referred to it as Shapur-Khast or Sabr-Khast fortress, Dezbaz, Khoramabad castle, and ultimately the Falak ol-Aflak Castle.
During the Pahlavi Dynasty it was used as a prison
The foundations of the actual castle measure approximately 300 meters by 400 meters. The height of the entire structure, including the hill, reaches to 40 meters above the surrounding area.
The castle itself covers an area of 5,300 square meters. It is 2,860 meters in perimeter and its tallest wall is 22.5 meters high. This space is divided into four large halls, and their associated rooms and coridors. The rooms all surround two courtyards with the following measurements: the first courtyard measures 31x22.50m and the second 29x21 meters. When originally built the castle used to have 12 towers, but only 8 remain standing today.
The building's entrace is situated towards the north, within the body of the northwestern tower.
The water well of the fortress lies in the area behind the first courtyard. Reaching a depth of 40 meters, the majority of the well's shaft is carved into the rock in order to reach the source of the Golestan spring. The well remains usable to this day.
The materials used in the construction of the fortress are mud-bricks, mud-fired bricks, stone, wood, and mortar.
Archeological studies have identified the existence of a two layered rampart with twelve towers around the present day construction. This surrounding rampart mainly stretched westward. From the twelve original towers, only two remain and these are situated northwest and southwest of the existing fortress.
Falak ol-Aflak Castle appears to have been built with a dehumidifier system which is one of the wonders of the ancient world.
Previously, the experts believed these dehumidifier canals with a height of more than 1 meter covering all the area beneath the castle were hide-outs for the residents. But in reality, due to being aware of the changing climate in the region and the underground waters, the Sassanid engineers have equipped the castle with a dehumidifier.
Falak ol-Aflak castle is made with different materials like stone and wood that are so vulnerable to humidity. That’s why the castle was built on the highest point of the city of Khoram-abad, so that the wind could penetrate the building and dry its foundations.
Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2007 6:06 am
WOW WOW WOW....wonderful
thank you>>>> I hope to visit Iran >>>
Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 8:59 am
Susa (Biblical Shushan; also Greek: Σέλεύχεια, transliterated as Seleukeia or Seleukheia; Latin Seleucia ad Eulaeum; modern Shush, coordinates: 32.18922° N 48.25778° E) was an ancient city of the Elamite, Persian and Parthian empires of Iran, located about 150 miles east of the Tigris River in Khuzestan province of Iran. As well as being an archaeological site, Susa is also a lively village due to the devotion of Shi'a Muslims and the Persian Jewish community for the prophet Daniel.
Susa is one of the oldest-known settlements of the region, probably founded about 4000 BCE; though the first traces of an inhabited village date back to 7000 BCE. Evidence of a painted- pottery civilization dates back to 5000 BCE. In historic times, Susa was the capital of the Elamite Empire. Its name originates from their language; it was written variously (Šušan, Šušun etc.) and was apparently pronounced Šušən. Šušan was invaded by both Babylonian Empires as well as the Assyrian Empire in violent campaigns. After the Babylonian conquest, the name was misunderstood to be connected with the Semitic word Šušan, "lily."
Susa is mentioned in the Ketuvim of the Hebrew Bible, mainly in Esther but also once each in Nehemiah and Daniel. Both Daniel and Nehemiah lived in Susa during the Babylonian captivity of Judah of the 6th century BCE. Esther became queen there, and saved the Jews from genocide. A tomb presumed to be that of Daniel is located in the area, known as Shush-Daniel. The tomb is marked by an unusual white, stone cone, which is neither regular nor symmetric.
A tablet unearthed in 1854 by Henry Austin Layard in Nineveh reveals Ashurbanipal as an "avenger", seeking retribution for the humiliations the Elamites had inflicted on the Mesopotamians over the centuries:
"Susa, the great holy city, abode of their Gods, seat of their mysteries, I conquered. I entered its palaces, I opened their treasuries where silver and gold, goods and wealth were amassed...I destroyed the ziggurat of Susa. I smashed its shining copper horns. I reduced the temples of Elam to naught; their gods and goddesses I scattered to the winds. The tombs of their ancient and recent kings I devastated, I exposed to the sun, and I carried away their bones toward the land of Ashur. I devastated the provinces of Elam and on their lands I sowed salt."
The city was taken by the Achaemenid Persians under Cyrus the Great in 538 BCE. Under Cyrus' son Cambyses II, the capital of the empire moved from Pasargadae to Susa.
centuriesThe city lost some of its importance when Alexander of Macedon conquered it in 331 BCE and destroyed the first Persian Empire, but after Alexander's vast empire collapsed upon his death, Susa became one of the two capitals (along with Ctesiphon) of Parthia. Susa fell to the Seleucid Empire during which it was renamed Seleukeia. Susa became a frequent place of refuge for Parthian and later, the Persian Sassanid kings, as the Romans sacked Ctesiphon five different times between 116 and 297 CE. Typically, the Parthian rulers wintered in Susa, and spent the summer in Ctesiphon.
The Roman emperor Trajan captured Susa in 116 CE, but soon was forced to withdraw, due to revolts in his rear areas. This advance marked the greatest eastern penetration by the Romans.
Susa was destroyed at least twice in its history. In 647 BCE, the Assyrian king Assurbanipal leveled the city during the course of a war in which the people of Susa apparently participated on the other side. The second destruction of Susa took place in 638 CE, when the Muslim armies first conquered Persia. Finally, in  CE, the city was completely destroyed
Posted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 4:39 am
The Sasanian Capital City
The large round city , situated on the left bank of the Tigris, across the river from the Hellenistic city of Seleucia, has been identified as the great Parthian and Sasanian capital city of Tisfun, known to the Romans as Ctesiphon , the Al-Madain (“the cities”), of Arabic sources. Situated about 35 km south of the later city of Baghdad, in present-day Iraq, Ctesipon was the first Sasanian foundation in this urban zone, named Veh-Ardashir, “the beautiful (good) city of Ardashir,” after its founder, the Sasanian king Ardashir I (AD 224-241). Ctesipon was the royal residence, imperial and administrative center, and a commercial and agricultural hub of the empire in the densely populated Sasanian province of Babylonia/Asoristan. Although Ctesiphon served only as a winter residence for Sasanian kings who spent summers in the cooler highlands of the Persian plateau, it remained the capital and coronation city of the Sasanian empire from its foundation by Ardashir I until its conquest by Arab armies in AD 637.
Posted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 4:45 am
The Sasanian Empire
The Sasanian empire (AD 224-642) was the creation of the last great Iranian monarchy before the Arab conquest of Western Asia in the seventh century. The Sasanians are best remembered for their distinctive cultural expressions and for the longevity of their more than four centuries of rule. The Sasanian age was a dynamic time of cultural and economic revival when a new Persian ruling house in southwestern Iran, like the Achaemenid Persians of a thousand years before, extended its dominion over much of Western and Central Asia, in territories that stretched from Transcaucasia to the Indus. The Sasanian age was also a time of intensified trade and exchange, when Iran served as a major gateway to the transcontinental Silk Road that linked the West with China and the Far East.
The Sasanians came into power when Ardashir I, a provincial ruler of Persis, in the Iranian heartland of present-day Fars province, defeated his Parthian overlord, to become the ruler of a new dynasty in Western Asia named after an ancestral figure. By the mid third century, ambitious Sasanian kings extended Persian power across almost 2,000 miles, from the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea, and from Syria's Mediterranean shore to Afghanistan.
A principal achievement of the Sasanian dynasty is its replacement of feudal leadership with centralized authority, topped by the king. Sasanian Iran, which remained a highly centralized state for over 400 years, forged a fusion of the offices of church and state, of religious authority and secular rule. As head of state, the dynasty's founder Ardashir (224-241), a descendant of the Zoroastrian priesthood of Fars, also assumed guardianship of the sacred fire, the symbol of the national religion. This symbol is explicit on Sasanian coins where the reigning monarch, with his crown and regalia of office, appears on the obverse, backed by the sacred fire, the symbol of the national religion, on the coin's reverse.
The search for meaning in Sasanian art requires consideration of that art's function, of the ways art is used in Sasanian society. It is the values of the Sasanian elite that inspire Sasanian decorative arts such as engraved gem or sealstone. This widespread and ubiquitous cultural relic was a portable, functional and often highly valued article, produced for special purposes such as the fulfillment of contracts and for commercial exchange. Archaeological evidence of the use of the Sasanian seal is preserved in ancient clay impressions found on documents. Intended as contracts or for the purposes of trade and exchange, documents were tagged with wet lumps of clay impressed with seals as vouchers. The seal was originally attached to strings that once wrapped the letter or perhaps the covered goods. The clay seal impression was to be broken and discarded only at the time of the use of the sealed article.
Posted: Tue Jan 30, 2007 3:56 pm
Thanks PAARSE for sharing these nice information. :)
Posted: Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:59 am
fortminor wrote:Thanks PAARSE for sharing these nice information. :)
Your new avatar is so beautiful,Fortminor!! :P
Posted: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:50 am
Your new avatar is so beautiful,Fortminor!! :P
Thanks babara,beauty is in the eyes of beholder!
Posted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 7:08 am
fortminor wrote:Thanks PAARSE for sharing these nice information. :)
yeah... thanks PAARSE :)
Posted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 3:54 pm
You're welcome , my dear friends...
I'll try to add more.
Posted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 5:02 pm
In harmony with the rebirth of nature, the Iranian New Year Celebration, or NOROOZ, always begins on the first day of spring. Nowruz ceremonies are symbolic representations of two ancient concepts - the End and the Rebirth; or Good and Evil. A few weeks before the New Year, Iranians clean and rearrange their homes. They make new clothes, bake pastries and germinate seeds as sign of renewal. The ceremonial cloth is set up in each household. Troubadours, referred to as Haji Firuz, disguise themselves with makeup and wear brightly colored outfits of satin. These Haji Firuz, singing and dancing, parade as a carnival through the streets with tambourines, kettle drums, and trumpets to spread good cheer and the news of the coming new year.
The origins of NoRuz are unknown, but they go back several thousand years predating the Achaemenian Dynasty. The ancient Iranians had a festival called "Farvardgan" which lasted ten days, and took place at the end of the solar year. It appears that this was a festival of sorrow and mourning, signifying the end of life while the festival of NoRuz, at the beginning of spring signified rebirth, and was a time of great joy and celebration.
The other ancient symbolic representation of NoRuz is based around the idea of the triumph of good over evil. According to the Shah-nameh (The Book of Kings), the national Iranian epic by Ferdowsi, NoRuz came into being during the reign of the mythical King Jamshid; when he defeated the evil demons (divs) seizing their treasures, becoming master of everything but the heavens and bringing prosperity to his people. To reach the heavens, Jamshid ordered a throne to be built with the jewels he had captured. He then sat on the throne and commanded the demons to lift him up into the sky. When the sun's rays hit the throne, the sky was illuminated with a multitude of colours. The people were amazed at the King's power and they showered him with even more jewels and treasures. This day of great celebration was named NoRuz, and was recognised as the first day of the year.
Posted: Sat Mar 03, 2007 5:13 pm
Ruler means Governor, over here
Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 5:00 pm
Chahar Shanbeh Soori
One of the symbolic rituals of the Noe-Rooz celebrations occurs on the eve of the last Wednesday of the year (Chahar Shanbeh Soori, literally meaning "the eve of Red Wednesday" or "the eve of celebration"). On this magical night, families gather piles of brush or wood and bonfires are lit in public places. They then leap over the flames shouting:
"Sorkhi-e to az man, zardi-e man az to!"
"Give me your vibrant red hue, and take back my sickly yellow pallor!"
The essence of this tradition is giving thanks for the previous year's health and happiness, while exchanging any remaining paleness and evil with the warmth and vibrancy of the fire.
According to tradition, the living are visited by the spirit of their ancestors on the last days of the year, and many children wrap themselves in shrouds, symbolically re-enacting the visits. They also run through the streets banging on pots and pans with spoons and knocking on doors to ask for treats. The ritual is called qashogh-zany (spoon beating) and symbolizes the beating out of the last unlucky Wednesday of the year. This could be seen as the Iranian version of the Western Halloween night.
Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 5:05 pm
The traditional herald of the Noe-Rooz season is called Haji Firooz. He symbolizes the rebirth of the Sumerian god of sacrifice, Domuzi, who was killed at the end of each year and reborn at the beginning of the New Year. Wearing black make up and a red costume, Haji Firooz sings and dances through the streets with tambourines and trumpets spreading good cheer and the news of the coming New Year.
Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 5:11 pm
The Zoroastrians of ancient Persia celebrated the creation of life by offering their god, Ahura Mazda, seven trays filled with symbolic objects representing truth, justice, good thoughts, good deeds, virtue, prosperity, generosity and immortality.
Today, the tradition is continued through the setting of the table or spread with an arrangement of several items of which seven of them start with the Persian letter Seen (in English S). The Persian translation for the number seven is "Haft", hence, "Haft Seen" means "Seven S's". It is customary for the family to gather round the Haft Seen spread a few hours before the New Year.
At the exact moment of the New Year, the oldest person in the family continues the traditions by hugging and wishing each member well and offering sweets, pastries, and coins.
The contemporary Haft Seen spread includes seven of the following items:
Sabzeh - wheat or lentils grown in a tray or dish prior to Noe-Rooz to represent rebirth,
Samanu - a sweet pudding made from wheat germ, symbolizing affluence,
Senjed - the dried fruit of the lotus tree which represents love,
Seer - which means garlic in Persian, and represents medicine,
Seeb - which means apple in Persian, and represents beauty and health,
Somaq - sumac berries, which represent the colour of the sun rise,
Serkeh - which means vinegar in Persian, and represents age and patience,
Sonbol - the hyacinth flower with its strong fragrance heralding the coming of spring, and
Sekkeh - coins representing prosperity and wealth.
The other items in the spread include:
Shirini - Sugar cookies and pastries,
Candles - representing enlightenment and happiness,
Mirror - representing the reflections of creation on the first day of spring,
Painted eggs - representing fertility,
A bowl with goldfish - representing life and the end of the Zodiac sign of Pisces,
An orange in a bowl of water - representing the earth floating in space,
Rosewater - thought to have magical cleansing powers and
Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 5:16 pm
The thirteenth day celebrations, Seezdah Bedar, stem from the belief of the ancient Persians that the twelve constellations in the Zodiac controlled the months of the year, and each ruled the earth for a thousand years. At the end of which, the sky and the earth collapsed in chaos. Hence, Noe-Rooz lasts twelve days and the thirteenth day represents the time of chaos when families put order aside and avoid the bad luck associated with the number thirteen by going outdoors and having picnics and parties.
At the end of the celebrations on this day, the sabzeh grown for the Haft Seen spread (which has symbolically collected all the sickness and bad luck) is thrown away into running water to exorcise the demons (divs) and evil eyes from the house hold. It is also customary for young single women to tie the leaves of the sabzeh, prior to discarding it, symbolizing their wish to be married before the next year's Seezdah Bedar. When tying the leaves, they whisper...
"Sal-e deegar, khune-yeh showhar, bacheh beh baghal!"
"By next year married, with my child in my arms!"
The festival of Noe-Rooz represents a major part of the Iranian peoples' rich culture and is one of the cornerstones of their civilization. It has remained intact for several thousand years bringing joy and hope to every Iranian, no matter where they reside.
Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 3:28 pm
u have written everything of iran.
i think people from all over the world should know about our beautiful country.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!
Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 7:03 am
yeah, PAARSE has written almost everything about Iran & also the New Year customs.
Happy New Year to you & other members, too !!!:D
Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 4:21 pm
Thanks, dear friends
I hope we protect our ancient traditions and monuments
Happy New Year
Have a year white as Milk,
soft as Silk,
sweet as Honey,
and full of Money
Posted: Wed Mar 21, 2007 10:03 am
Yes, Thanks for your good information always,PAARSE!!
Happy New Year to all Iranian Too!!! :P :P
Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:34 pm
HaPpY NeW YeAr!!!every fellow country men!
I'm so happy to join u here :D
Posted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:35 pm
Great job PAARSE! I appreciate your sense of mihanparasti!(sorry I've forgotten the word
Do you agree if we find beautiful photos of Iran, put them here in this nice topic? :)
Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 4:16 pm
capital of Elam, favorite residence of the Persian king Darius I the Great
Susa is one of the oldest cities in the world. Excavations have established that people were living at the acropolis in 5000 BCE and have shown the existence of urban structures about 4000, and it is reasonable that the town, situated on a strip of land between the rivers Karkheh (Choaspes) and Dez (Eulaeus), was already the political center of Elam in the fourth millennium.
It has partly been overbuilt with a modern castle that was used by the French archaeologists.
A second part of the city is now called the royal hill. From written sources, we know that there must have been ziggurat, which must have stood somewhere over here. A third part is the artisan's quarter, which was to the east of the buildings on this map. The ruins of a donjon on a steep hilltop in the southeast date back to the earliest period.
The Assyrian king Aššurbanipal destroyed the Elamite capital between 645-640 BCE. It is unclear what happened in the next century, but after this, Susa was one of the empires of the Achaemenid empire. The city was rebuilt by the Persian king Darius the Great (522-486). The Apadana palace was clearly his favorite residence. The Greek researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassus, who wrote a lot about the Achaemenid empire, did not know of another capital.
King Artaxerxes II Mnemon (404-358) built a second audience hall on the opposite bank of the river, which is visible at bottom left of the picture.
The conical structure in front is more recent. Here, muslims venerate the tomb of the prophet Daniel, another figure related to the Persian court at Susa. In fact, there were other capitals (Pasargadae, Persepolis, and Ecbatana), but is evident that Susa was more impressive. An inscription in the palace, known as DSf, describes how Darius built his residence.
A great god is Ahuramazda, who created this earth, who created yonder sky, who created man, who created happiness for man, who made Darius king, one king of many, one lord of many.
Darius the King says: By the favor of Ahuramazda I built this palace.
Darius the King says: Ahuramazda, the greatest of the gods created me, made me king, bestowed upon me this kingdom, great, possessed of good horses, possessed of good men.
By the favor of Ahuramazda, my father Hystaspes and Arsames my grandfather - these both were living when Ahuramazda made me king in this earth.
To Ahuramazda thus was the desire: he chose me as his man in all the earth; he made me king in all the earth.
I worshipped Ahuramazda. Ahuramazda bore me aid. What was by me commanded to do, that he made successful for me. What I did, all by the favor of Ahuramazda I did.
This palace which I built at Susa, from afar its ornamentation was brought. Downward the earth was dug, until I reached rock in the earth. When the excavation had been made, then rubble was packed down, some 40 cubits in depth, another part 20 cubits in depth. On that rubble the palace was constructed.
And that the earth was dug downward, and that the rubble was packed down, and that the sun-dried brick was molded, the Babylonian people performed these tasks.
The cedar timber, this was brought from a mountain named Lebanon. The Assyrian people brought it to Babylon; from Babylon the Carians and the Yaunâ [=Greeks] brought it to Susa. The yakâ-timber was brought from Gandara and from Carmania.
The gold was brought from Lydia and from Bactria, which here was wrought. The precious stone lapis lazuli and carnelian which was wrought here, this was brought from Sogdia. The precious stone turquoise, this was brought from Chorasmia, which was wrought here.
The silver and the ebony were brought from Egypt. The ornamentation with which the wall was adorned, that from Yaunâ was brought. The ivory which was wrought here, was brought from Kush and from India and from Arachosia.
The stone columns which were here wrought, a village named Abiradu, in Elam - from there were brought. The stone-cutters who wrought the stone, those were Yaunâ and Lydians.
The goldsmiths who wrought the gold, those were Medes and Egyptians. The men who wrought the wood, those were Lydians and Egyptians. The men who wrought the baked brick, those were Babylonians. The men who adorned the wall, those were Medes and Egyptians.
Darius the King says: At Susa a very excellent work was ordered, a very excellent work was brought to completion.
Me may Ahuramazda protect, and Hystaspes my father, and my country.
The palace was clearly meant as propaganda, where every visitor would be impressed by the size of the empire. An inscription, D2Sa, records reconstruction works from the age of Artaxerxes I Makrocheir and Darius II Nothus.
After the fall of the Achaemenid empire and the reign of Alexander the Great, who married in Susa , the city became part of the Seleucid empire. It was now called Seleucia on the Eulaeus. A palace in Greek style was erected, next to Darius' palace. The administrative center, however, was in the southern part of the city, where nearly all Greek and Parthian inscriptions were discovered. In the Parthian age, the city minted coins. The city remained important until the thirteenth century CE. Excavation started in 1897.
Posted: Sat Mar 31, 2007 7:09 pm
(ĕkbăt'ənə, ĕkbətä'nə) , capital of ancient Media, later the summer residence of Achaemenid and Parthian kings, beautifully situated at the foot of Mt. Elvend and NE of Behistun. In 549 B.C. it was captured by Cyrus the Great. It possessed a royal treasury and was plundered in turn by Alexander, Seleucus, and Antiochus III. The site has never been thoroughly excavated, since it is covered by the modern city, Hamadan, Iran, where the traditional tomb of Esther is still honored by the Jewish community. Ecbatana was the Achmetha of Ezra 6.2 and the Apocrypha. It is also called Hangmatana.
Location and environment
Ecbatana (48h°31' E, 34°h48' N; alt. 1,800 m) is in the Zagros mountains of central-west Iran at the base of the eastern slope of the Alvand range (q.v.; the classical Mount Orontes; Diodorus Siculus, 2.13.7; Polybius, 10.27; "Iasonius mons" of Ammianus Marcellinus, 23.6.39). The city controls the major east-west route through the central Zagros, the so-called High Road. Average annual precipitation is about 385 mm and temperatures range from -25h° C in winter to +35h° C in summer. On the wide, well-watered, fertile plain to the east, fruits and vegetables were traditionally cultivated near the city, while cereal production predominated in the next zone and pastoralism in the extensive periphery. In antiquity, the area was famed for its horses and wheat .
Median Empire Map
Posted: Mon May 14, 2007 5:12 pm
Cyrus The Great
Cyrus II, Kourosh in Persian, Kouros in Greek
Cyrus (580-529 BC) was the first Achaemenid Emperor. He founded Persia by uniting the two original Iranian Tribes- the Medes and the Persians. Although he was known to be a great conqueror, who at one point controlled one of the greatest Empires ever seen, he is best remembered for his unprecedented tolerance and magnanimous attitude towards those he defeated.
Upon his victory over the Medes, he founded a government for his new kingdom, incorporating both Median and Persian nobles as civilian officials. The conquest of Asia Minor completed, he led his armies to the eastern frontiers. Hyrcania and Parthia were already part of the Median Kingdom. Further east, he conquered Drangiana, Arachosia, Margiana and Bactria. After crossing the Oxus, he reached the Jaxartes, where he built fortified towns with the object of defending the farthest frontier of his kingdom against nomadic tribes of Central Asia.
The victories to the east led him again to the west and sounded the hour for attack on Babylon and Egypt. When he conquered Babylon, he did so to cheers from the Jewish Community, who welcomed him as a liberator- he allowed the Jews to return to the promised Land. He showed great forbearance and respect towards the religious beliefs and cultural traditions of other races. These qualities earned him the respect and homage of all the people over whom he ruled.
The victory over Babylonia expressed all the facets of the policy of conciliation which Cyrus had followed until then. He presented himself not as a conqueror, but a liberator and the legitimate successor to the crown. He also declared the first Charter of Human Rights known to mankind. He took the title of "King of Babylon and King of the Land". Cyrus had no thought of forcing conquered people into a single mould, and had the wisdom to leave unchanged the institution of each kingdom he attached to the Persian Crown. In 539 BCE he allowed more than 40,000 Jews to leave Babylon and return to Palestine. This step was in line with his policy to bring peace to Mankind. A new wind was blowing from the east, carrying away the cries and humility of defeated and murdered victims, extinguishing the fires of sacked cities, and liberating nations from slavery.
Cyrus was upright, a great leader of men, generous and benelovent. The Hellenes, whom he conquered regarded him as 'Law-giver' and the Jews as 'the annointed of the Lord'.
Prior to his death, he founded a new capital city at Pasargade in Fars. and had established a government for his Empire. He appointed a governor (satrap) to represent him in each province, however the administration, legistlation, and cultural activities of each province was the responsibility of the Satraps. Accoding to Xenophon Cyrus is also reputed to have devised the first postal system, (Achaemenide achievements). His doctrines were adopted by the future emperors of the Achaemenian dynasty.
Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 11:43 pm
WOW!!!your country is very beautiful, thanks for giving other people the chance to know your country!!!I just love it, hope someday can visit it!!
Posted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 3:06 pm
The ancient Persian water goddess, fertility goddess, and patroness of women, as well as a goddess of war. Her name means "the immaculate one". She is portrayed as a virgin, dressed in a golden cloak, and wearing a diamond tiara (sometimes also carrying a water pitcher). The dove and the peacock are her sacred animals.
Anahita was very popular and is one of the forms of the 'Great Goddess' which appears in many ancient eastern religions (such as the Syrian/Phoenician goddess Anath). She is associated with rivers and lakes, as the waters of birth. Anahita is sometimes regarded as the consort of Mithra
Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 4:53 pm
Mithra (Avestan Miθra, modern Persian مهر Mihr, Mehr, Meher) is an important deity or divine concept (Yazata) in Zoroastrianism and later Iranian history and culture.
Mithra is descended, together with the Vedic deity Mitra, from a common proto-Indo-Iranian entity *mitra (pronounced the same way as Mithra).
The proto-Indo-Iranian word *mitra- could mean either "covenant, contract, oath, or treaty", or "friend". A general meaning of "alliance" adequately explains both alternatives. The second sense tends to be emphasized in Indic sources, the first sense in Iranian. The word is from a root mi- "to bind", with the "tool suffix" -tra-. A contract is thus described as a "means of binding" .
The first extant record of Mitra/Mithra is in the inscribed peace treaty between Hittites and the Hurrian kingdom of the Mitanni in the area southeast of Lake Van, c. 1400 BCE. There Mitra/Mithra appears in the company of Varuna, Indra and the twin horsemen (Ashwini Twins), the Nasatyas, as the five beings invoked as witnesses and keepers of the pact, and all of whom the rulers of the Mitanni apparently worshipped. (Campbell, 1964 p 256).
The reforms of Zoroaster retained the multitudes of pre-Zoroastrian divinities, reducing them in a complex hierarchy to "immortals" who, under the supremacy of the Creator Ahura Mazda, were now either ahuras or daevas. In this scheme, Mithra is a member of the ahuric triad, protectors of asha, the order of the universe. Mithra is additionally the protector of truth and justice and the source of cosmic light. In Middle Persian Mithra came to be known as Meher.
Relief from Taq-i Bostan in Kermanshah, Iran, showing Ardashir I of Sassanid Empire at the center receiving his crown from Ahura Mazda. The two stand on a prostrate enemy. Here at the left is Mithra as a priest, wearing a crown of sun-rays, holding a priest's barsam, and standing on a sacred lotus.
Mithra is not present in the Gathas of Zarathustra (Zoroaster) but appears in the younger Yashts of the Avesta (Campbell p 257). There, Mithra comes to the fore among the created beings. "I created him" Ahura Mazda declares to Zoroaster, "to be as worthy of sacrifice and as worthy of prayer as myself" (Campbell, loc. cit.). In the Yashts, Mithra gains the title of "Judge of Souls" and is assigned the domain of human welfare (which he shares with the Creator). Mithra occupies an intermediate position in the Zoroastrian hierarchy as the greatest of the yazata, created by Ahura Mazda (Ormuzd in later Persian) to aid in the destruction of evil and the administration of the world. He is then the divine representative of the Creator on earth, and is directed to protect the righteous from the demonic forces of Angra Mainyu (Ahriman in later Persian).
As the protector of truth and the enemy of error, Mithra occupied an intermediate position in the Zoroastrian pantheon as the greatest of the yazatas, the beings created by Ahuramazda to aid in the destruction of evil and the administration of the world. He was thus a divinity of the realms of air and light, and, by transfer to the moral realm, the manifestation of truth and loyalty. As the enemy of darkness and evil spirits, he protected souls, accompanying them to paradise, and was thus a redeemer. Because light is accompanied by heat, he was the promoter of vegetation and increase; he rewarded the good with prosperity and annihilated the bad
In Iranian (Arian) culture
While in older Zoroastrianism Mithra is seen as a creation of Ahura Mazda, in later Persian culture, Mithra evolved to be an incarnation of Ahura Mazda , and in his role as 'Judge of Souls' as the rewarder of good and annihilator of the bad. Mithra was seen as omniscient, undeceivable, infallible, eternally watchful, and never-resting.
Similarly, while in the Sirozeh, Mithra is also referred to as Dae-pa-Meher, or Creator of Meher, this separation between 'Meher' and the 'Creator of Meher' dissolves in later texts and the distinguishing characteristics of Mithra and Meher blend. Mithra, reincorporated as "Meher", thus also becomes the representative of truth and justice, and, by transfer to the physical realm, the divinity of air and light. As the enemy of darkness and evil spirits, he protected souls, a psychopomp accompanying them to paradise. As heat accompanying light, Mithra became associated with growth and resultant prosperity.
Mithra worship spread first with the empire of the Persians throughout Asia Minor, then throughout the empire of Alexander and his successors.
By at least the 3rd century BCE, Mithra was identified as the progeny of Anahita, a mother-entity who is not mentioned in the Gathas of the very early Avesta texts, but is described in the fifth Yasht of the newer texts as "the wide-expanding and health-giving". The largest temple with a Mithraic connection is the Seleucid temple at Kangavar in western Iran (c. 200 BC), which is dedicated to "Anahita, the Immaculate Virgin Mother of the Lord Mithras".
The Parthian princes of Armenia were hereditary priests of Mithra, and an entire district of this land was dedicated to Anahita. Many temples were erected to Mithra in Armenia, which remained one of the last strongholds of the Mazdaist cult of Mithra until it became the first officially Christian kingdom.
Royal names incorporating Mithra's (e.g. "Mithradates") appear in the dynasties of Parthia, Armenia, and in Anatolia, in Pontus and Cappadocia.
Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:10 pm
Goor Dokhtar, Dasht-e-Arjan, Dashtestan
Goor Dokhtar (Dasht-e-Arjan)
The structure of 'Goor Dokhtar' is very similar to the mausoleum of Koorush the great in Pasargadae (about 600 BC.). This structure is made of 24 slabs of stones, according to the 'Orartoie' and Elamite principles such as the ziggurat of Choqazanbil. This valuable monument is registered on the records of the Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran.
Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 6:00 pm
The Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in the Southwest Asian region, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.
This inland sea of some 233,000 km² is connected to the sea of Oman in the east by the Strait of Hormuz; and its western end is marked by the major river delta of the Arvand rood, which carries the waters of the Euphrates and the Tigris. Its length is 989 kilometres, separating mainly Iran from Saudi Arabia with the shortest divide of about 56 kilometres in the Strait of Hormuz. The waters are overall very shallow and have a maximum depth of 90 metres and an average depth of 50 metres.
Countries with a coastline on the Persian Gulf are (clockwise, from the north): Iran, Oman (exclave of Musandam), United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar on a peninsula off the Saudi coast, Bahrain on an island, Kuwait and Iraq in the northwest. Various small islands lie within the Persian Gulf.
Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:55 am
The Persian dance
Iranian dance history is characterized by many fascinating and also tragic incidents. It seems to be completely unknown to the outside world, partly because of the present political situation of the country that has toned down the interest for a profound research effort. The other reason is the current archaeological discoveries and excavations in Iran, during the past thirty years. They have made it possible to have access to material and evidence for the origin of Persian dance, ever since the appearance of the cult of Mithra about two thousand years before our calendar.
By virtue of these bases, Iran can be considered as one of the ancient world’s empires, which methodically and actively was devoted to the development of the art of dance. For this ancient nation, dancing has been an important social phenomenon and a religious ritual.
THE CULT OF MITHRA
AND THE ORIGIN OF PERSIAN DANCE
The origin and rise of Persian dance as an independent and distinctive art form is estimated to be parallel with the birth of Mithraism and its spread. This cult centrally revolves around the ancient Persia’s sun and light God, Mithra, who is the main figure in this mystery religion that during the late antique era spread over the entire Roman Empire. Numerous temples and depictions of the legendary Mithra have been located and excavated in the three continents of the ancient world; Asia, Africa and Europe. The latest discovery has been done in London as late as 1954.
The most important ritual in this cult has been the worship of Mithra, as he is sacrificing a bull. This act was believed to promote the vigour of life. The consecration to this belief was accomplished among other rites through the baptism in the blood of a bull, followed by a ritual dance performed only by men. This ceremonial act is considered as the earliest known form of Iranian dance, and the origin of the magic dance of the antique civilisations. It is typical for sacred Persic (Persian) dance, so called “Danse Persique Sacrée”.
In several occasions he has indicated and in detail described the cultural and social habits of Persians. He has mentioned the wide cultural exchange that Persians had with the ancient world. “From every corner of the known (antique) world, the most appreciated artists were imported to the imperial court in order to practice their artistic abilities in the presence of the majestic Emperor and his court.”
AN ART PATRONIZING IMPERIAL DYNASTY
The cultural exchange with the ancient civilizations, particularly with Egypt and Greece has been extensive and proceeded during several centuries. In various works by Greek historians “Persian dance masters” (choreographs and pedagogues) have been mentioned as they have appeared in antique Greece, and Greek “sportsmen, poets and dancers” have been sent to the Persian Empire.
This cultural exchange has been described as one of the distinctive characteristics of ancient Persian culture, which gave rise to the term of “acculturation”, meaning the acceptance of new cultures. This was an evident quality for the legitimation and survival of an empire that ruled over numerous nations, from Egypt in North Africa, to India in Far East. It was the world’s first religiously tolerant empire and consisted of a multitude of different languages, races, religions and cultures.
Achaemenians, the first ruling dynasty of the Persian Empire, contained several enthusiastic emperors who encouraged the advancement of different art forms. Ketzias, another Greek historian writes about the popular and talented female dancer, Zenon from Crete, who was Artaxerxés II:s (Ardeshir Shah II) court dancer and “the apple of the King’s eye”.
Another Greek historian, Polukleitos, reports that at the marriage of Alexander the Great with the Persian woman “Roxana” in Susa, which continued in five days, he was amused by Greek musicians, singers and dancers who were engaged at the Persian Imperial Court.
Ketzias has specifically mentioned a sort of Persian dance, which was performed in connection with the ceremonies of Mithrakana (Mehrgan) in which even the King participated. “The King in India never appears if he is drunk. But unlike him in Persia, the Emperor drinks precious wine and devotes himself to the Persic dance during the ceremonies arranged in honor of Mithra”. Douris from Samos reports about the same royal tradition: “Only in one occasion the King drinks wine and dances Persic dance and it is when worshipping Mithra.”
Xenophon emphasizes that this kind of Persic Dance (Danse Persique) has been very usual and as popular as “riding” because “Persic Dance, like a sport, strengthens the muscles”!
The importance of the art of dance among Persians can clearly be viewed relatively numerous Greek history books. Different forms of dance have existed as they were performed on ceremonial, ritual or entertaining occasions. “For acquainting their horses with the tumultous scenes of war, the Persians used to execute a “military dance”, which meant that in a collective arrangement, clashing the weapons together rhythmically and dancing with their horses".
“… the man from Mysie performed a Persic dance by clashing his shields together, bending himself forward and rising up again. He did all that harmonically and proportionally to the rhythm of the flute.”
Dancing was a well-developed and protected art form during the existence of other dynasties of Persian Empire, for instance Parthian and Sasanian. According to the Greek texts, there have been detailed descriptions for different forms of dancing, like fire dance, sword dance and even horse dance, which meant dancing while riding on horseback.
Re: THE ANCIENT PERSIA (IRAN)
Posted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:00 pm
The art of wine in ancient Persia
“I could drink much wine and yet bear it well”
-- Darius the Great, the King of Kings of Achaemenid Empire (6th BCE), Athenaeus 10.45
The history of wine making and wine drinking is an old one in Persia, and today the Darioush vineyard in the Napa Valley which has become renowned in the art of wine making, is attempting to revive this tradition in the United States. Wine connoisseurs today may be familiar with the word Shiraz, the name of a town in southwest Persia famed for its grapes.
Whether or not the Shiraz grape was the source of the Medieval Syrah, brought to France from Persia in the thirteenth century CE by the knight, Gaspard de Sterimberg, or not is not central to the issue. What is important is that the mere fact that Shiraz is alleged as the source of the Rhone Valley grapes in Avignon, makes it clear that the prestige of the town and its grapes was fabled in antiquity and the middle ages. It was the Shiraz grape, again, which was brought to Australia in the nineteenth century CE, and which now has become well-known in the United States.
But the history of wine making in Persia is much older. How old, one may ask? Archaeological investigations have shown that in fact it was in Persia that the earliest wine was made in world history. At Godin Tepe in Western Persia the earliest evidence for wine making and wine points to the fourth millennium BCE.
The jars found there have yielded evidence of wine residue and it is thought that they were used for storing wine as its funnel for the wine makers. The location of Godin Tepe along the east-west trade route also plays along with the story of Shiraz grape having been taken to the West, and the evidence here suggests that wine making may very well have had its diffusion from this location.
It is with the first Persian dynasty, the Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BCE), that we find the culture of wine drinking in the form of long drinking vessels known as rhython. We hear that the Persian court was most elaborate place of feasting that the Greeks knew. The existence of rhytons and the mention of wine filters (Greek oino th toi) in the antique literature from Persia, all suggest the importance of the drink.
Herodotus tells us that the Persians were very foind of wine (Old Persoan batu) and that they made important decisions in the following manner. First they became drunk, since they believed that only when you are drunk do you tell the truth. Then, the next day when they were sober they reconsidered the matter. Pliny states that wine was also used with drugs for collecting information. The type of drug used with wine was called Achaemenis which had the following effect: “when it is drunk in wine, criminals confess to everything.”
This interest in wine in Ancient Persia is manifest not only in material culture such as jars, plates and cups but is also documented in the written sources. A Middle Persian text from the Sasanian Empire (224-651 CE) entitled (King) Husraw and Page mentions the best foods and drinks that are fit for a king. It is really a royal menu which is rarely noticed by food historians.
The text was composed at the court of the King of Kings, Khosraw I in the sixth century CE, one of the greatest of the Sasanian monarchs who ruled Persia. What this text demonstrates that, just as today when we identify wines with regions such as France, Australia, Italy, California, etc. the Persians also were interested in wines from all regions. By this time the various kinds of wines were distinguished, by their color and filtering technique.
In this passage from the text the king asks what are the best wines and the Page answer:
“May you be immortal, these wines are all good and fine, the wine of Transoxania, when they prepare it well, the wine of Herat, the wine of Marw-Rud, the wine of Bust and the must of Hulwan, but no wine can ever compare with the Babylonian wine and the must of Bazrang.”
The taste for various wines included may i sepid “white wine,” may i suxr “red wine.” These wines of course could have different qualities such as may i wirastag “clarified wine,” or also badag i abgen “crystal wine,” which were served in dolag or tong. For information on the daily usageand consumption of wine we can look at the papyri which are basically letters between Persian officers in the seventh century CE and which mention the following (Papyri 8809):
With the coming of Islam the consumption of wine and other alcoholic beverages was deemed haram “illicit,” but Medieval Persian texts, especially the genre known as “Mirrors for Princes,” demonstrate the continuing love of wine. Persians throughout their history have been able to compartmentalize their contradictory habits and mores. Thus, while Islam became an important facet of the Persian culture and, in turn benefited from that culture, may “wine” remained a constant motif in Persian literature.
One can argue over the literal or metaphoric nature of the use of wine in Persian literature, but this persistent mention is owed to the ancient Persian tradition of wine drinking and wine making. This reminds me of Prophet Zarathushtra who in proclamation against the drinking of Haoma brings us back full circle (48:10):
When, Wise One (Mazda), shall men desist from murdering?
when shall they fear the folly of that intoxicating drink (i.e., Haoma),
through the effects of which the Karpans (mumbling priests),
as well as the evil rulers of the lands torture our (good) intentions in an evil way?
Needless to say the Persians did not stop consuming Haoma and they still didn’t abstain when the Prophet Muhammad proclaimed against the consumption of wine.